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May 19, 2013

Sooners win playoff for top-five finish berth to nationals

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Oklahoma men didn’t do themselves many favors.

In seventh place at the Tallahassee Regional after both 18 and 36 holes at Golden Eagle Golf and Country Club, the Sooners entered Saturday’s final round needing to leap into the top five to advance to the NCAA Championships, set to begin May 28 at the Capital City Club in Atlanta.

After 54 holes, OU still wasn’t there. But after 55, the Sooners were on their way.

Firing a final round 289, OU finished tied in fifth place with South Florida, each program posting a three-round total of 854. So, back both teams went to the 18th hole, a par 5.

The Sooner foursome of Abraham Ancer, Will Kropp, Beau Titsworth and Charlie Saxon carded a combined 17, with Ancer, Kropp and Titsworth each making birdie. South Florida played the hole in even-par 20.

“It was the most amazing experience for our guys today, maybe even better than winning a golf tournament,” OU coach Ryan Hybl said. “Every guy played a huge role this week and we survived. It was an awesome week for us and for our program.”

North Florida won the regional with a 34-under par total of 830. Washington was next at 833, followed by host Florida State at 836 and Georgia Tech at 849.

Among individuals, Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan claimed medalist honors after a final-round 67 put him at 15-under par 201, three strokes better than North Florida’s MJ Maguire, Florida State’s Chase Seiffert and Richmond’s Daniel Walker, who was in Tallahassee without his teammates.

For OU, Ancer claimed a top 10 finish after rounds of 67-72-70 left him at 7-under par 209.

Michael Schoolcraft finished at 212 after a final-round 74. Saxon also shot 74 Sunday and finished at 215. Titsworth closed with a 72 to finish at 218, while Kropp’s Sunday 73 made for a 226 total.

Ranked 25th and the No. 5 seed at the regional, OU will return to the national tournament, where it finished 11th last season at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Now the Sooners have earned a chance to improve on that finish. It only took them three days and 55 holes to get there.

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